Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
This has been a banner year for our garden! Between the rain and the heat, our tomato plants have grown nearly five feet and bear many green tomatoes that will one day come to ripen. Beans, peas and squash are all doing nicely. Our ever-bearing raspberries have been a source of snacking, smoothies and dessert-making.
None of this would have been possible had we not tilled, weeded, watered and carefully guarded the fruit we so longingly desired to see. Even today, there are weeds sprung up that need to be pulled. Why is it that fruit bearing seeds planted, watered and cared for take so much time to bear their fruit and weeds seemingly spring up overnight?
Young couples today, want houses, cars and toys equivalent to that from which homes they left to join together on their own. What many never realize is that their parents had to go through lean times. Times of hardship, low-paying jobs, cars that broke down, homes in need of repair and young children in desperate need of attention. Times of setback, job loss, and growing economic pressures. Good and lasting fruit cannot and will not come overnight.
With careful, watchful diligence, their lives can be as fruitful and some even more so than their parents. But more important, and more urgent, is the need to keep their souls in and through Christ Jesus.
In Thessalonians, we find a list of things Paul admonishes them to do:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-23
“Pray without ceasing.”
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
“Quench not the Spirit.”
Despise not prophesyings.”
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, you say you want good fruit in your life?
Do you revisit your salvation often (Rejoice evermore)?
Are you in a constant spirit and attitude of prayer (Pray without ceasing)?
Do you live with an attitude of gratitude (In everything – give thanks)?
Do you have a submissive spirit to all the Holy Spirit leads you to do and asks of you (Quench not the Spirit)?
Do you have a heart prepared to receive truth from whomever God places before you to preach (Despise not prophesyings)?
Is the Word of God the first place you search to gain knowledge and test what others tell you is true (Prove all things)?
Do you question what you wear, where you go, how you communicate, what you watch and with whom you keep company – if God would truly be pleased with our choices (Abstain from ALL appearance of evil)?
Biblically, weeds represent sin. Sin, like weeds, can spring up so quickly in our life. Coming home from a wonderful church service, our hearts can be easily dirtied by turning on the television, surfing the internet, listening to worldly music or even driving around with no real destination in mind. Keeping our hearts with all diligence is a daily, hourly, even a minute-by-minute task.
If you love the fruit of a good garden, you must hate the weeds. If you love the fruit of a clean heart, you must hate the sin that so easily defiles it. You will never regret the work you put into keeping and maintaining a clean heart before God. Use Philippians 4:8 to filter what comes into your heart and God will be pleased with what comes out.